Running His Mouth

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 1, 2007; 9:04 AM

Well, Joe Biden has managed to unite the left and the right in this country.

Both sides agree that he did something idiotic.

In 1986, when the Delaware senator was gearing up for his first presidential bid, I wrote in The Post: "Given his penchant for soul-searching monologues and rambling speeches, it could fairly be said that Biden is trying to talk his way into the White House."

And that's how it's always been with Biden. He is capable of great flights of eloquence--and of stepping on a sensitive part of his anatomy. He has a restless intelligence and a self-indulgence that allows him to go on at great length. I could see him holding four-hour news conferences as president, which would probably allow time for three or four questions.

Biden is well aware of this trait and has been trying to rein himself in. So what happens? He declares for president yesterday and is promptly torpedoed by his own words in a New York Observer interview.

Biden on why Hillary Clinton can't win: "Everyone in the world knows her. Her husband has used every single legitimate tool in his behalf to lock people in, shut people down. Legitimate. And she can't break out of 30 percent for a choice for Democrats? Where do you want to be? Do you want to be in a place where 100 percent of the Democrats know you? They've looked at you for the last three years. And four out of 10 is the max you can get?"

Okay, pretty aggressive.

Biden on John Edwards calling for an immediate withdrawal of 40,000 troops from Iraq: "I don't think John Edwards knows what the heck he is talking about."

Hey, he could make this campaign interesting.

Biden on Barack Obama: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Gulp.

Did he really use those adjectives? And how damaging is this?


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